Violence against witches

Unnamed witches: a murdered witch. (Catalogue ref: SP 16/11 f. 5)

This source contains an example of the extreme violence that could be committed against people who were accused of witchcraft, 2 December, 1625.


  1. The man I told you of his name was
  2. Pemberton: an active man in several professions, but a papist and
  3. hath been a teacher over of recusant’s children.[Recusant was English Catholic who refused to attend services of the Church of England]
  4. This man, as the general report is, was
  5. cast out of their Synagogue. Where upon he grew melancholy
  6. seeking by all means to be reconciled again to his former state.
  7. And as it is conveyed (for no man can prove their secret
  8. passages) had conference with a priest, who after many
  9. delays should tell him that there was no means for his
  10. reconcilement [forgiveness] but to procure [get hold of] the heart of a heretic.
  11. Whereupon (as it seems) he gave out in speeches that he
  12. would kill this woman for (says he) she is a witch.
  13. After a while being at work near the place, he was willed
  14. to come to supper, which quoth [said] he: “But I will kill the witch
  15. first, whereof the messenger laughed as at a jest.”
  16. So he went to the house to come in, the doors were shut (for they
  17. were jealous [mindful] of his words) he bade open the door, they would not, for
  18. it was tight. Then he took up a mighty stone and at
  19. serious assault broke it down. The women came out
  20. backward to a neighbour’s house. But he fell first upon the
  21. men & with a whittle like a butcher’s knife gave him fifty wounds.
  22. Then he followed the women, but a maid resisting him got five
  23. great wounds and he would have killed her, unless she told him
  24. where the witch was. Whereof she told him under the bed.
  25. He came into the chamber door, pulled her out, cut her throat
  26. so wide it lay upon her bosom. Ripped down her breast
  27. but could not get his hand in for the bone. Then he ripped
  28. her up the belly, thrust in his arm & caught a piece of her
  29. [?] with his knife in one hand and liver in the other. Bragging
  30. openly he had killed the witch, there was her heart. And
  31. now he cared not what became of him.
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